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Report on eSpeak Tamil Computing with NVDA Training Workshop at Tiruchirappalli

Posted by Nirmita Narasimhan at May 06, 2015 12:05 PM |
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The training workshop was held from May 4 to 8, 2015 at Centre for Differently-abled Persons, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli. Seventeen delegates attended the workshop.
Report on eSpeak Tamil Computing with NVDA Training Workshop at Tiruchirappalli

A poster of the event


The eSpeak Tamil Computing with NVDA Training workshop planned for 5 days (4th May 2015 to 8th May 2015) extensively for visually challenged college students and teachers was inaugurated on 4th May 2015 morning by respected Dr. M. Ravichandran, Registrar (In charge), Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli. Dr. R. Mangaleswaran, Syndicate Member, Bharathidasan University felicitated with august presence and speech. Mr. S. Shankar Subbiah, Assistive Technology Consultant and representative of National Association for Blind, New Delhi and The Centre for Internet & Society, Bangalore, and the sponsors for workshop gave a talk on the purpose of the Workshop and need for Tamil computing among the visually challenged in the present educational and employment context. Dr. M. Prabhavathy, Asst. Professor and Centre Head gave the Welcome address and Vote of thanks, thanking the Guests for their interests on empowerment of visually challenged and the participants for their earnest efforts to get trained on new technologies.

The well-equipped and accessible ICT lab of the Centre for Differently Abled Persons, at Kajamalai Campus, Bharathidasan University served as the venue for training. In order to facilitate the participants with more concentrated and time efforts, High Tea and Lunch were also served for the Training days at the Centre. Volunteers with Computer Science background were there to assist the Trainees and served them enthusiastically. The participant trainees were from Tiruchirappalli district and nearby districts like Karur, Pudukottai and Thanjavur of Tamilnadu state.

The workshop began with Resource persons, Mr. K. Navarasan, Mr. S. Shankar Subbiah and Mr. G. Kumaresan, Assistive Technology Expert continuing with the training activities on their expertise areas. The below were the activities conducted during the training period.

Day 1 - 04/05/2015


  • The whole group of Trainees were divided into two groups based on their previous knowledge on computer.
  • The former group consisted of the persons who were beginners to computers and the latter consisted of the trainees who have previous knowledge on computers.
  • A general overview on keyboard and its layout was introduced to the trainees to ensure readiness among the beginner trainees by the Resource person.
  • The keyboard layout and key mapping for alphabets, numeric, special keys and functional keys were taught to the trainees.
  • For those with previous knowledge exercises were given for reading, writing in English using computers with newspaper content, answer to question kind of comprehensive paragraphs with the Resource persons and volunteers coordinating.


  • The beginner trainees typed the keys that were taught on the previous session and practiced simple words dictated the Resource person and volunteers assisted on difficulties.
  • For those with previous knowledge, the exercises were elaborated and assessed for their readiness.

Day 2 - 05/05/2015

  • Tamil keyboard layout of Microsoft Windows for default Unicode Tamil Font typing were introduced to the trainees by the Resource person.
  • The whole group of Trainees were trained to identify the keys for vowels and consonants of Tamil language, type and practice by themselves with the volunteers supporting them, when they had difficulties.


  • The Trainees were trained to identify the keys for combinations, type and practice by themselves with the volunteers supporting them, when they had difficulties.
  • A play and learn session was organized to spell out connected words for typing practice.
  • To make the training workshop more live, the participants also were requested and exhibited their Tamil native talents and knowledge.

Day 3 - 06/05/2015

  • The Trainees were trained by giving large sets of two letter, three letter, and four letter units of words to type and practice. The Resource persons and volunteers corrected them when they had difficulties.
  • It was followed up by smaller sentences to be typed by the Trainees.


  • The trainees were made to listen to the Tamil text phrases with the help of NVDA screen-reader supported by eSpeak voice
  • The trainees were suggested to type out the phrases listened on a separate document
  • The trainees were trained on file operations like folder creation, saving to required folder and retrieval of the particular file. Similarly, for navigating, opening the file saved and continuing editing

Day 4 - 07/05/2015

  • Introduction on DAISY books and knowledge sharing on the available resources to read a DAISY book was done.
  • Demonstration on using Android based tablets and mobile phones to access the Tamil DAISY books given to the Trainees using The Trainees were also given information to subscribe for Bookshare membership and Book search and retrieval.


  • As a reinforcement on the learning process, a Quiz Programme was conducted to the Trainees on Microsoft Tamil layout and key strokes required for different Tamil words, phrases.
  • Usage of Tamil in Internet, and the browsers supporting the Unicode formatted content and the NVDA development efforts to support Internet browsing was discussed.

Day 5 - 07/05/2015

  • The Trainees were provided with Tamil HTML content to use the NVDA navigation commands to read the content and practice.
  • Reading content received in Email, Copying content from Browsers and pasting on Word document were taught and practiced.


  • Oral as well as Typing Assessment for Tamil keyboard layout, key strokes, words and phrases typing, file and folder operations of a document were conducted for the Trainees to ensure the training and learning process have helped them.
  • The Resource persons and volunteers ensured that they have learned the intended content and were confident to move ahead in Tamil computing using NVDA and eSpeak

The Valedictory Function

The eSpeak Tamil Computing with NVDA Training workshop conducted for 5 days (4th May 2015 to 8th May 2015) had the Valedictory function presided by Prof. V.M. Muthukumar, Hon. Vice Chancellor, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli who delivered the valedictory address and got the feedback from the participants in the presence of Dr. D. Muthuramakrishnan,, Syndicate Member, Bharathidasan University who felicitated the gathering. Vote of thanks to CIS, NAB and the organizers was given by Dr. M. Prabhavathy, Asst. Professor and Centre Head and the training felt much useful ended up with the National Anthem.

Mr. K. Nallusami, Government School Teacher, and Mr. R. Jeyaraj, Student from Bishop College gave the feedback, how the training was helpful and would be useful by implementing Tamil computing in their daily occupation. They also highlighted on the materials and useful tips by Resource persons while working with NVDA in MS Word, Internet using Tamil computing given and learned in the training workshop.

Mrs. J. Sumathi, a Teacher who was not knowing Computer previously explained how the Volunteers and Resource persons helped learn from basic Keyboard mapping to Tamil Typing and it was a kind of magic happening to her and sister. They both came 100 miles away from Tiruchirappalli and stayed with their relatives for training. But, really happy to spent these days’ worth getting trained and requested the Organizers to conduct more such trainings for other Teachers of their District too.

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